Iowa Campus Compact today announced the recipients of the 2016 MLK Day of Service Community Partnership Project mini-grant funds. Nearly $85,000 will fund higher education community projects fighting hunger and serving veterans. Projects will be coordinated by 62 Campus Compact member colleges and universities in 25 states. The grant is supported by federal funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Grant funds will leverage more than $300,000 in local and state funding for project on and around MLK Day of Service, January 18, 2016.
"Campus Compact member institutions across the country have a strong history of honoring the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. through service in their communities," said Emily Shields, Iowa Campus Compact Executive Director. "These funds will create even more opportunities for colleges and universities to build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones."
Grantees plan to leverage nearly 20,000 volunteers in support of those projects. These volunteers will support the packaging, sorting and collecting of more than 130,000 pounds of food and the provision of services to nearly 4,000 veterans. Funds will be distributed in partnership with four Campus Compact affiliates: Campus Compact of the Mountain West, New York Campus Compact, North Carolina Campus Compact, and Wisconsin Campus Compact.
Grantees will engage students, staff, and faculty in project on and around the official MLK Day of service. Some, such as Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, will have events all week including food packaging with Support Siouxland Soldiers, cards for veterans, and a poverty simulation.
Many grantees will be working to combat food insecurity. Several are hosting food packaging events on MLK Day with organizations like Outreach, Inc. who provide nutritious, pre-packaged meals for those in need at home and abroad. Washington State University's SLO (Sustainable Local Organic) Food Drive will focus on collecting and donating healthy foods that have been produced in environmentally sustainable ways.
Other colleges and universities are planning to connect veterans with services in their local community. Pierce College in Washington will host a unique event that will bring disabled veterans and at-risk youth together in a participatory photography and digital storytelling project for a community project. Syracuse University will be partnering with Clear Path for Veterans in an effort to provide meals to the veterans in our community by organizing a food drive through mid-January. The donations received from the food drive will then be donated to Clear Path for Veterans for their weekly lunches as well as for the culminating event, the MLK Day Lunch of Thanks.
In addition to the community impacts, grantees will also focus on educating students about issues of food insecurity, veterans, and about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy. Appalachian State University will hold a keynote address,
focusing on the importance of citizenship and social justice, as well as opportunities for workshops on activism and community action. The University of Mount Union in Ohio offered a student's perspective on the impact of past events.
"My freshman year I volunteered at the MLK Day of Service," said the student. "It showed me how much of an impact we can have on the world if everyone gives their time in service to others. This is one of my favorite events on campus, and this is why I participate every year."
More information on grantee projects and resources can be found on the project web site at www.mlkdaygrants.org.